Tag Archives: politics

10 things I learned about the 2012 election

Collision 2012There are certain topics I ramble on about on my blog more than others, like movies, hikes, music and food. Two things I haven’t written a lot about are politics and books. That changes today.

As I was riding in a cab on the way to the airport about a month ago, I overheard an interview on NPR with Dan Balz, a writer with The Washington Post. Balz was discussing his new book, Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America. I just happened to be on the market for a new, interesting read, and because I like to dabble in and out of non-fiction, it sparked an interest. I downloaded this in-depth election examination and chewed through it in a couple weeks.

One of the things I love about reading on my Kindle Fire HD is that it gives me the ability to highlight key passages and take notes, which I can then go back and review. While reading Collision 2012, I captured dozens of interesting facts about our president, the pool of colorful Republican challengers in the 2012 election, and the evolving election process.

Here are ten of my favorite things I learned or was reminded of, reading this book, that you might equally enjoy, in no particular order:

  1. By the time Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, his net worth was estimated at more than $200 million.
  2. Barack Obama almost always speaks, in formal and some informal settings, with the aid of a teleprompter.
  3. The Obama campaign employed hundreds of developers that spent a year building a software platform that compiled and integrated an unprecedented amount of data including voter lists, donor lists and volunteer lists. Eventually named Narwhal, this platform allowed for integration between a campaign online and a campaign on the ground, for the first time ever. (The Obama campaign built a second and equally impressive platform called Dashboard that allowed thousands of field organizers scattered around the country to communicate and share important information over the web.)
  4. Nancy Reagan lobbied Mitt Romney to run for president.
  5. Mitt Romney loves Brooks Brothers non-iron shirts.
  6. Republican nominee Newt Gingrich pledged at one point during the campaign that he would establish a permanent moon colony if he were elected president.
  7. When Mitt Romney formally announced Paul Ryan as his running mate on the deck of the USS Wisconsin, he introduced him as, “the next president of the United States.”
  8. When Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention, she was interrupted by applause almost 50 times in 23 minutes.
  9. Through savvier ad buying and negotiations, Obama paid significantly less for his ads than Romney. For an ad during the Emmy awards, Romney paid $3,600 and Obama paid $1,200.
  10. More than $2 billion was spent during the 2012 presidential election.

If you’ve got an interest in politics, elections or just well written non-fiction, I recommend this book.

A Dummies Guide to Super PACs

Are you paying attention to Super PACs?

If you watch Jon Stewart and/or The Colbert Report, you sure know what I’m talking about.

If you remember Kerry losing the 2004 Presidential election because of the drama stirred up from the Swiftboat attack ads, questioning Kerry’s integrity, then you are familiar with the nasty power of traditional PACs. Just wait until you hear about Super PACs.

In this election cycle, the Super PACs are in full force. There are Super PACs (political organizations that can raise as much money as they want with unrestricted single donation amounts, in support of a candidate, as long as they don’t actually interact with the candidate) that will raise up to $300 million in this Presidential election. Their goal is to get their candidate elected by taking out the other candidates. Mostly with negative attack ads, robo calls, etc. You’re familiar with their tactics.

Did you know it’s harder to create a TV commercial selling white bread because of FCC regulations you have to go through to prove your claims. With political ads you apparently aren’t under the same scrutiny, so you don’t have to prove the claims you’re making. So it’s pretty easy to get a negative campaign ad about a candidate on TV.

Sometimes the Super PACs get fined when the Federal Election Commission finds out that they are cohorting with a candidate (you’re not allowed to communicate remember). Fined how much you ask? Anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000. Hmm, sounds significant. I guess unless you consider that some of these Super PACs are raising tens of millions of dollars. So maybe a $200,000 fine here and there is the cost of doing business?

Back to Stephen Colbert. Maybe you’ve heard, he’s founded his own Super PAC. Why? Not to attack any particular candidate. But to draw more attention to how Super PACs are destroying the political system in the United States.

Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC is running the following outrageous TV ad right now in South Carolina, if you can believe it:


How much as Stephen Colbert raised? The funny thing is that he doesn’t have to tell us! Well, Super PACs are supposed to release the names of their donors, with donation amounts, every 3 months. But you know what? Stephen Colbert formed his Super PAC in July and he hasn’t reported any of his donations. And no one seems to care. He says the FEC could fine him but they’d have to rule he did something wrong. And they’re split 3-3 (republican-democrat) so they can never actually ever agree on anything to rule on. So he’s fine to just keep wreaking havoc… showing how out of control Super PACs are.

I don’t know what the solution is to Super PAC fiascos. They are supported by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2010 (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission), with the majority coming from liberal judges. And it sounds like the Supreme Court will never reverse its own decision, so the only thing that could change the system now is an amendment to the United States Constitution (no easy task).

Oh and don’t think this is a nasty Republican thing. Democrats are currently raising oodles in their own Super PACs, in support of President Obama. They will be fired up and ready to rip to shreds whoever the Republican candidate ends up being.

It’s going to be interesting. Can’t wait to watch the 2012 election unfold.

Polls are closed. The results are in.

After a last minute surge on both sides of Prop F, the polls have closed, the election commission has certified the results and the people have spoken.

Lindsey… make your final decision wisely.

Prop F results

Decision 2009: The polls are open

Proposition Freestar

There is a new development in the case for Proposition Freestar. (Familiarize yourself with Prop F.)

Just hours before polls were set to open last night, the election commission (me) learned from an unreliable source (Lindsey) that the Ford Explorer was sold on Saturday (to a cop, no less).

The good news is that Lindsey hasn’t handed the title over. Meaning, if enough votes are cast there may still be time to convince Lindsey to bail on the cop (bad karma I know, but this is important), grovel at the feet of the Freestar owner (for being so foolish and turning down the offer) and make the trade happen after all.

The polls are poll is open until 5 PM PT | 8 PM ET. Vote early and vote often. (yes, often… I never said this was a democracy.)

Proposition F.

My coworker Lindsey is selling her 2003 Ford Explorer because she doesn’t need/want a car in the city anymore. Late last week, she received a Craigslist reply to her for ad inquiring whether or not she’d consider trading her Explorer for a Ford Freestar minivan (sweet!). Lindsey, acting without thinking the proposition through, declined the trade.

Imagine my surprise when I found all of this out. A Ford Freestar minivan!? What spells fun more than a minivan?

Today, I am formally launching a campaign to get Lindsey to reconsider the offer. On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, I will be holding a special election (at no cost to the people of the state of California) on this blog. Come by on Tuesday to show your support for Proposition Freestar (otherwise known as Prop. F).

Proposition F

LOTW: Links of the Week #3

It’s that time of the week again. Here goes…

  • How do you feel about waiting at train crossings? Watch this and then tell me how you feel about train crossings. (Source: Emily W.)
  • Snuggie? Not for me.  Slap chop? Already got it.  Tater mitts? I want! (Source: Lindsey S.)

  • And finally, some cat kicks dog ass humor to kick your weekend off.

Meg Whitman is going down

As expected, former eBay CEO, Meg Whitman formally announced that she’s running to become California’s next governor.

Barf.

Sorry Meg, you were stupid to support Prop. 8 and it will kill any minuscule chance you ever had of becoming our next governor.

If you’re interested in a nice dose of anti-Meg rhetoric, check out a good post from Gawker back in December.